Complement and coagulation cascades in trauma

Acute Med Surg. 2019 Apr 25;6(4):329-335. doi: 10.1002/ams2.426. eCollection 2019 Oct.


Trauma remains a major cause of death throughout the world, especially for patients younger than 45 years. Due to rapid advances in clinical management, both in the acute and prehospital settings, trauma patients survive devastating injuries at unprecedented rates. However, these patients can often face life threatening complications that stem from the robust innate immune response induced by severe hemorrhage, leading to further tissue injury rather than repair. The complement and coagulation cascades are key mediators in this disordered reaction, which includes the development of trauma-induced coagulopathy. There is increasing evidence that cross-talk between these two pathways allows rapid amplification of their otherwise targeted responses and contributes to overwhelming and prolonged systemic inflammation. In this article, we summarize the initial steps of innate immune response to trauma and review the complex complement and coagulation cascades, as well as how they interact with each other. Despite progress in understanding these cascades, effective therapeutic targets have yet to be found and further research is needed both to improve survival rates as well as decrease associated morbidity.

Keywords: Coagulation; DAMPs; PAMPS; complement; trauma.

Publication types

  • Review